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Dr. Axel Volkwein - Personal Homepage

Axel Volkwein
Organisational unit Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements

Torrents and Mass Movements
Mass movements
Address Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf

Room Bi LG E 23
Contact Phone: +41 44 739 2962
Fax: +41 44 7392 215
Web / E-Mail


  • Numerical simulation of rockfalls

    A new software will enable the three-dimensional calculation of rockfall trajectories based on GIS data. This defines the basis for further research interests regarding the quality of the numerical simulations and in the field of structural protection measures. The software is part of the software RAMMS an all-in-one hazard design tool in combination with avalanches and debris flows. [link]

  • Numerical simulation of flexible rockfall protection barriers

    The simulation software FARO provides a tool for the simulation of flexible rockfall protection barriers. It can be used for an efficient development or optimisation of new types due to a reduced number of expensive prototype field tests. In addition, the use of software provides the possibility to simulate projected barriers considering special load cases, which cannot be reproduced in field tests, as well as special geometrical boundary conditions for individual sceneries. [thesis, paper, experiments]

  • Numerical modeling and design of flexible debris flow barriers

    The research project leads to a numerical simulation tool that models the interaction between a debris flow and a flexible protection barrier. Similar types of barriers are also used against rockfalls. But compared to this application with a well-known load due to the rigid behaviour of the rock, the loads submitted by a debris flow are quite unknown. An extensive experimental programme with full-size and laboratory dynamic tests delivers the needed information for proper simulation models. [link]

  • Spatial tracking using acceleration sensors

    In order to reconstruct the three-dimensional trajectory of a falling rock we use accelerometers integrated in an artificial spherical boulder together with a computer control unit. This resolves the extremely short-term high acceleration peaks that cannot properly be resolved by even high-speed video systems. Main focus is set on the numerical treatment of the measured data in order to obtain the most correct trajectory by integration over the time. [poster]

Short CV

since 2012 Scientific staff member research unit mountain hydrology and mass movements
since 2009 Head notified testing laboraroy for rockfall protection systems
2006 - 2011
Head Team Rockfall & Tree Mechanics at Swiss Fed. Research Institute for Forest, Snow & Landscape WSL
2004 - 2006 Post-Doc at Swiss Fed. Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland
1999 - 2004 Research assistant at Institute of Structural Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and doctoral studies (Dr. sc. techn.) under supervision of Prof. E. Anderheggen
1993 - 1999
Studies of civil engineering (Dipl. Ing.) at University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and University of Sydney, Australia
1993 Abitur /Matura (University Entrance Examination) from humanistic Wilhelms-Gymnasium in Munich
1974 Born in Munich, Germany